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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel Paperback – May 5 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; 5th Printing edition (May 5 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341004
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 7 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will appeal to anyone who loves to read about courage, integrity, kindness, love, literature, and happiness. Written as a series of letters among the characters, the book will also charm those who enjoy getting to know people through what they reveal in writing.

It would be easy to spoil this gem so I'll reveal as little as possible. In the first letter dated 8th January 1946, author Juliet Ashton writes to her publisher, Sidney Stark, about the results of her book tour for Izzy Bickerstaff goes to War and her new book, English Foibles. It turns out she's tired of being a light-hearted journalist. From there, we trail Juliet as she eventually finds her subject through an unexpected letter from a Guernsey farmer, Dawsey Adams, who owns an old book of hers, Selected Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb, which had her name and former address written inside the front cover. Like Alice when she went down the rabbit hole, that letter opens up a whole new world . . . and set of experiences . . . relating to the English Channel island of Guernsey which was occupied by German forces during World War II.

Unlike literary letters (say of Virginia Woolf), these letters are more often chatty and informative than witty. But each letter opens the door into the hearts and minds of the characters in deeper ways than can occur in the normal narrative of a novel. You will feel like you are solving a mystery at times. You'll even get to know characters quite well that don't write any letters.

I found myself torn between wanting to race to the end . . . and wanting to savor the pleasure of each letter. The latter instinct prevailed.

The letters are short, and you could read most of them in two minutes or less. Even if you are frequently interrupted, you will get right back into the story.

There's a clear possibility of a sequel here. I look forward to it!
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 11 2008
Format: Audio CD
Audio books are getting better and better. For this listener that is largely due to increasing narrations by ensemble casts, giving a breadth and richness to readings that cannot be achieved by even the most accomplished single voices. Such is certainly true of this warm, humorous story that is related in a series of letters.

It is the winter of 1946 in London when our story opens. Author Juliet Ashton is pondering, no searching for ideas for her next book. She's surprised to receive a letter from the island of Guernsey, which was once under German occupation. The epistle is from a man she does not know, Dawsey Adams, who now has a book by Charles Lamb that once belonged to Juliet. Dawsey wants to know where he might find more books by Lamb.

Juliet's curiosity is aroused by this man who shares her affinity for Lamb, and in future correspondence he tells her that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a group formed for mutual protection during the German occupation.

Eventually, Juliet receives letters from other members of the Society, a disparate yet fascinating group, each with a story to tell. In due time she decides she must meet her new friends.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a wonderful tale, peopled with unforgettable characters and filled with courage, love, humor, all of which reminds us of the invincibility of the human spirit.

- Gail Cooke
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Livingstone on Aug. 18 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book transports you to another era with its colorful descriptions of the Second World War, this delightful island & its people. It makes you want to read more books of this type & also to read more books on Guernsey Island. The characters are marvelous & I wish the book was longer so I could spend more time with them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brigid O'Sullivan on Dec 8 2008
Format: Hardcover
Oh I just loved this book! I was constantly poised between racing to see what happens next and just savouring each page slowly like a Belgian chocolate.
The entire book consists of letters between a journalist and the inhabitants of Guernsey during and after WW2.
It is an extraordinary book in that it takes you right in to the era of German occupation of the Channel Islands and how the residents coped. I learned historical details whilst being totally submerged in the characters who ring so true. I particularly loved the character of the little girl.
Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 11 2009
Format: Hardcover
Every review I've read about this talks about the book being a delightful read or a charming way to spend some time. While it is true there are delightful passages and charming characters, the book is much more than you might imagine. There is real human drama here, there are people you grow to love and to mourn. This is not all froth, the book packs an emotional punch. One of the best books I've read in a while.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By MacFly on Oct. 19 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie was a real gem to read! Not a book I normally would have picked up, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this book from other readers. The story is told entirely through letters - again, not something that I would think would work all that well. But the story was wonderful and it rolled out wonderfully from the letters. Steeped in history, I learned a great deal from this book and enjoyed reading about a group of readers. There were parts of the book that were very sad but the dry humour in the book really appealed to me. This is a terrific book that I recommend to all people who love to read!
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